Links 11/15/2022

If bumblebees can play, does it mean they have feelings? This study suggests yes NPR (David L)

Honey bee life spans are 50% shorter today than they were 50 years ago PhysOrg (Kevin W)

NASA’s Hubble Captures Magnificent Image of Intergalactic Bridge CNET (furzy)

Maurice Sendak’s ageless imagination Artforum (Anthony L)

Book review of G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage Washington Post (Anthony L)




New China COVID rules spur concern as some cities halt routine tests Reuters (resilc). This is so bad.


Climate change and US housing: Taxes fund disaster rebuilding cycle USA Today (resilc)

Emissions on track to reach all-time high even as leaders meet at COP27 Axios

The Wrong Americans Are Buying Electric Cars Bloomberg. I don’t write these stories.

Lithium-Ion Batteries in E-Bikes and Other Devices Pose Fire Risks New York Times (David L)


President Xi Jinping Meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in Bali Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. Biden shamelessly and repeatedly lies about US policies and actions.

Readout of President Joe Biden’s Meeting with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China White House. As I am sure you know, “candidly” is not a positive word.

Biden-Xi lower the temperature in cooldown summit Asia Times. Showing my reflexive pessimism, but this is not how I read it. Having Biden lie yet again to Xi and not change course, which seems the likely outcome, is not going to improve matters. The US just launched a chip war, FFS. And see below re the fact that it is trying to escalate:

Quadrant Magnetics, 3 people charged with giving China military info Louisville Courier Journal (resilc)

What Nigeria Can Teach Us About China’s Belt and Road The Diplomat

Increasing demand for oil and fuel threatens African nations’ economies, analysis finds Guardian

Old Blighty

Former Tory minister lays into post-Brexit Australia trade deal Financial Times (Kevin W). We predicted that Britain would be desperate to ink post-Brexit bilateral trade deals and would therefore accept not very good terms.

New Not-So-Cold War

Biden Hails Retaking Of Kherson As CIA Chief Warns Russian Counterpart On Nuclear Threat Radio Free Europe. I have been and remain extremely skeptical of the idea that the US is offering any olive branches. Colonel Macgregor, who has insider info, said the contact the week before last by Jake Sullivan to his Russian counterparts was to threaten Russia. Macgregor was told Sullivan hinted at or may have even been more overt about the US organizing a force from NATO members. This is more of the same. Specifically, it is US saber-rattling to try to prevent Russia from launching offensive(s) once it has its 300,000+ mobilized forces in the field.

Or let us put this another way: there are enough people in the deeply embubbled Beltway who still thinks the US rules the roost, that Russia is losing the war and about to run out of missiles, and some more US weapons and management will turn the tide, that it follows that any communication with Russia = negotiation, when bullying and ultimatums are not that.

Burns reverted to the formula of warning Russia v using nukes, which some in Russia have taken as a US threat to use tactical nukes. But this is also a threat v. Russia using its soon to be considerably beefed-up forces. On top of that, you’d expect a big messaging campaign to soften up the US, UK and EU publics to the idea of ending war. Nothing of the kind happening; in fact, reporting on protests is being suppressed. From the story:

Burns underscored the consequences if Russia were to deploy a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, according to a White House National Security Council official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“He is not conducting negotiations of any kind. He is not discussing settlement of the war in Ukraine,” the White House official said. “He is conveying a message on the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, and the risks of escalation to strategic stability.”

Oddly RFE pulled the story (I swear I found it on Wayback Machine but the germane screenshot went poof there too!) but plenty of footprints of the operative quote elsewhere (see Reuters in CIA boss talks nuclear weapons and prisoners with Putin’s spy chief and AlArabiya)

RFE ALSO scrubbed the story reporting on the meeting in advance (see Wayback Machine), which again clearly stated that “settlement” negotiations were off the table.

The fact that Milley told the Administration that Ukraine was at its high water mark does not mean Biden and the neocons have internalized that. They may when what Milley sees has become undeniable. Everyone seems to skip over the key paragraph in the NYT story:

But other senior officials have resisted the idea, maintaining that neither side is ready to negotiate and that any pause in the fighting would only give President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia a chance to regroup. While Mr. Biden’s advisers believe the war will likely be settled through negotiations eventually, officials said, they have concluded that the moment is not ripe and the United States should not be seen as pressuring the Ukrainians to hold back while they have momentum.

The Dems doing well in the midterms and Biden scoring best in polls on his handing of Ukraine will likely feed the continued denial.

The childish effort to humiliate the Russian delegation to the G20 and America’s failure to even deign to respond to Russia’s proposals in late 2021 suggests, consistent with the WaPo story about the new directive to Zelensky (to feign being interested in negotiating) that the Russians won’t take any overtures seriously, even assuming v. evidence that that is what is happening now.

Plus the West will not give Russia security guarantees that are worth a plugged nickel. Russia needs to cripple NATO and drive a wedge between Europe and the US. Having the war continue at significant cost to European citizens and commerce does that.

The problem is Putin does not like war and may quit before the job is done. The flip side is that in March, Russia did not stop prosecuting the war while it was negotiating. There’s no reason to behave differently if talks start down the road. The two sides have yawning chasm between their negotiating positions, so it won’t be hard to make this take a long time if Russia plays it that way. The Vietnam peace talks ran 3 1/2 years.

G20 leaders to agree draft communiqué rejecting ‘era of war’ Financial Times. G20 amplifies fabricated charges that Russia is planning to use nukes, save per its doctrine, which is defensively and in extremis. So it looks like the Burns meeting was timed to give a news boost to that charge.

Peskov: Kyiv cannot and doesn’t want to negotiate, SVO will continue Newsfeed. That at a minimum = if and when negotiations occur, Russia will not again play the pointless game of negotiating with Ukraine when the West can and will retrade any deal (mind you, I do not see why bother with the US refusing to remove the sanctions; if anyone in a weak moment were to entertain them, they would not get past the “shape of the table” stage). But since the US is not agreement-capable, it’s not clear why Russia would bother except to play to the Global South.

* * *

Russian Ops in Ukraine – Update: What is the Goal & is Moscow Achieving it? Brian Berletic. A theory on why Russia has not taken out the Dnieper bridges plus a generally useful discussion. Berletic also followed the war in Syria on a daily basis, and says Russian commentators then were often wildly reactive and emotional.

* * *

Note it was markedly warmer and the turn in temperatures started yesterday, but when I updated the chart, I lost that data. Site does not have history:

Recall from our post yesterday that every 5-7 Celsius fall in temperatures (9-13 degress Farenheit) = 10% more electricity demand.

BTW Kherson city appears short of power. From Ukraine’s Strana, via machine translation:

The “head” of the Russian-appointed “administration” of the Kherson region claims that the Kakhovskaya HPP has stopped generating electricity.

Yesterday there were reports about the liberation of Nova Kakhovka and Kakhovka of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but today they have been refuted.

Per, RIA Novosti is reporting that the head of the Urkaine utility says Russia blew some transformers at the hydroelectric station:

RIA Novosti. An infrastructure facility that provided electricity to the right bank of the Kherson region and part of Mykolaiv region was destroyed, Vladimir Kudritsky, head of the board of the national energy company Ukrenego, said.

“It no longer exists. Two autotransformers, each weighing 250 tons, were blown up. The relay protection hall, the compressor room, the battery <...> were additionally shot and crushed,” he wrote on his Facebook page

But Russia seems to control it, so how can Ukraine be sure? Anyone with intel please pipe up.

* * *

‘Ze-len-skiy!’ Kherson crowds cheer president after he gives speech in city Guardian (Kevin W)

A shorter rant: There is much whining on Rybar about the Russian failure to try to kill Zelensky when he visited Kherson. This is the sort of thing Sun Tsu warned against: “All tactics and no strategy is the noise before the defeat.” The US and NATO are running this show, not Zelensky. Assassinating him creates a martyr, which in turn would help the Biden Administration gin up more funding beyond the $50 billion it is trying to push through before the new Congress comes in and help European leaders bolster flagging support for the war in their countries.

* * *

Russia strategises with Iran for the long haul in Ukraine India Punchline (guurst). Important.

Top Zelensky advisor threatens war with Iran Greyzone (resilc)

* * *

Ukraine Plans to Create ‘Israel-Like’ Arms Industry To Produce NATO-Caliber Weapons AntiWar (resilc)

Russian Oil Exports Hold Up Despite Impending EU Ban Wall Street Journal

From Khrushchev’s U.S.S.R. to Putin’s Russia Atlantic. Resilc: “Soooooooooooooooooo, USA USA is basically still an unreconstructed plantation state.”

* * *

Germans to segregate war dead RT (Kevin W)


Emirates has Spent $154 mn on Lobbying US since 2016, and has Illegally Influenced US Politics: Intel Report Juan Cole

Imperial Collapse Watch

Washington Keeps Alienating Its Policy Partners Cato Institute. Kevin W: “Not to mention other major countries like India, the UAE and South Africa.”

‘So Irresponsible’: US Condemned for Warning Australia Against Joining Anti-Nuclear Treaty Scheerpost (Jan B)

DEA’s most corrupt agent: Parties, sex amid ‘unwinnable war’ Associated Press. Resilc: “I’m sure CIA/State loaded with doubles too.”

Exclusive: Russian software disguised as American finds its way into U.S. Army, CDC apps Reuters

Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians–A Top Heavy U.S. Military Larry Johnson


Jan. 6 committee evaluates options after Trump sues to block subpoena ABC

Republicans Want to Blame Their Election Disaster on Trump. Don’t Fall for It. New Republic. Resilc: “Good luck, trump will chew them up and shit them out.”

Trump is Still the Demon King of US Politics CounterPunch (resilc)


Why a Trump-appointed Texas judge blocked Biden’s student-debt cancellation plan Business Insider (Kevin W)


Why the War Party is the real winner of the midterms Responsible Statecraft

Democrat Katie Hobbs Defeats Republican Kari Lake in Arizona Governor Race The Hill

Rep. Andy Biggs to challenge McCarthy for Speaker The Hill

GOP Clown Car

A New Republican Civil War Is About to Begin New Republic (resilc)

Our No Longer Free Press

The Quiet Merger Between Online Platforms and the National Security State Continues Jacobin (Randy K)

Elon Musk Picks a Fight With the Sen. Ed Markey Over Impersonation on Twitter Rolling Stone (furzy)

Inflation/Supply Chain

Global Shipping Container Shortage Is now a Container Surplus Jalopnik

OPEC Oil Production Fell In October As Members Missed Targets OilPrice (Kevin W)

The Bezzle

Per the above, recall that FTX and Binanace were the big buyers of distressed players. The Binance tweet is an admission that there’s not enough equity in crypto-land.

FTX balance sheet, revealed FTAlphaville ZOMG!!! This isn’t a balance sheet, it’s a napkin doodle. Your pet store has more entires on its balance sheet.

FTX’s Balance Sheet Was Bad Matt Levine, Bloomberg


Class Warfare

University of California Strike Disrupts Classes Just Weeks Before Finals Wall Street Journal (David L)

‘If I rest, how will I earn?’: How an Indian street hawker manages his monthly costs. AlJazeera (resilc)

Antidote du jour (Jake B):

And a bonus (Chuck L):

A second bonus (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. SocalJimObjects

    “New China COVID rules spur concern as some cities halt routine tests”. I was told by my Chinese teacher earlier today that:
    1. People in Shanghai will have to start paying for Covid tests starting the end of the month.
    2. People from certain second tier cities are now allowed to fly without taking a PCR test.

    Seems to her that China will be opening up soon. Also, according to her, the economic situation in China is very bad.

      1. Verifyfirst

        Naomi Wu on Twitter posted:

        Lot of Weibo chatter about different cities dropping mass PCR testing entirely, seems a bit chaotic. Basically, they’ll only be testing people in contact chains. This of course means they’ll miss breakthrough cases. Still no discussion of aerosol spread.

  2. .human

    The Wrong Americans Are Buying Electric Cars

    It’s the same with energy efficient appliances. Low income households, who would benefit the most from decreased energy needs, can not afford the increase in price over conventional stock.

    1. griffen

      Yeah that article summarizes a lot of problems in economic terms and not just the wider proliferation of EV for every day commuting. I am one of those old heads, happily driving my 2008 Accord into the ground and after doing so I continue to drive said Accord. I am not doubtful of the EV enthusiasm in this country ( USA USA ) but the adoption of the required tech and the more expensive vehicles is where I start to lose a little faith as it were.

      Contrary to the current Biden admin approach on fossil fuels, I think it is a longer haul to replace them as the primary fuel source that makes our economy run. And if we stop digging up coal and choose to not burn natural gas what is powering the grid?

      1. flora

        Australian car guy John Cadogan is skeptical of many EV claims. He’s on utube. He thinks EVs make sense in cities/city driving because of reduced emissions, which concentrate in cities. That’s a different subject from overall environmentally friendly. (Charging the car from the grid is using fossil fuels from a distant source.)

                1. The Rev Kev

                  By wintertime, when you step off a plane in some European capitals you will be able to smell the coal in the air. Found the same when I went to the UK in ’84 though you soon ceased to notice it. But you knew that it was there. And between the coal and the burning of wood, I would expect to see reports of serious smog over Europe too.

        1. Hepativore

          A lot of people who have cars live in very rural locations where there is no public transportation, like me, so we must drive several miles to work, so a car is not a mere luxury for people like me.

          Related to that, is the fact that many different types of farm, freight, or construction equipment run on diesel, and some forms of diesel are heavily-polluting. Because of the degree of torque that many of these vehicles require when handling heavy loads, an electric tractor or bulldozer might be impractical. Therefore, it might be better to look into a liquid fuel alternative to fossil fuels. I think dimethyl ether would probably be the best option, and some methods of producing it would be carbon-neutral.

          I also think that we should look into replacing diesel locomotives with electrically-powered ones.

    2. digi_owl

      That is the ongoing problem. Low income is what produce the piles of consumer waste. As low income means having to buy the crappified bargains, that barely gets the job done for the warranty period and then break down a day beyond that.

      1. Carolinian

        Low income is what produce the piles of consumer waste.

        Guess my neighbors’ trash and recycle cans–bulging with Amazon boxes and barely used household items–would say differently. And there’s this great illusion that Walmart goods are made in some special poor people factories rather than the same assembly lines that produce the re-badged luxury items. To be sure the dollar stores sell lots of low quality trinkets but I doubt that’s what’s filling up our landfills.

    3. Lexx

      ‘Davis, at Berkeley, found that in multi-vehicle households, an EV tends to be the secondary or tertiary car. Some two thirds of households with an EV also had a gas-powered car that was driven more often. What’s more, that vehicle is more often than not a relatively inefficient one — namely a large truck or SUV.’

      Sitting in a savings account is $70k earmarked to buy an electric car to replace our nine year old hybrid Prius. The money has been sitting there earning little interest for some time; the purchase has been put on hold.

      Attached to our house is a small two car garage. One vehicle is the Prius (my car, handed down from Husband after his commuter days) and the other is a four year old 3/4 ton Sierra truck (his). Of the two of us, he drives far more than I do, whereas I hardly drive at all and only refill the tank every other month. My tank requires about $35 in gas, his is about $100 a month, or around $1400 a year for both of them. Add $600 for pulling the 5th-wheel someplace. It will take 35 years to deplete the $70k sitting there for an electric car if all we have to do is refill the tanks. Yes, there are several other expenses to owning and operating a car, but you get where I’m going here.

      The climate crisis is now or really, yesterday. We want “to do the right thing” and we have the money; it won’t even be a matter of making car payments – cash. And selling the Prius puts a good, economic, well-maintained car out there on the used market at a more affordable price… but that’s really just a good argument for keeping it and driving it myself. The argument about the climate cost of going electric wins.

      Cue Caitlin Johnston to tell us it’s all propaganda from all those vested interests in keeping drivers in vehicles with gas engines. Conspiracies and the simple math of replacing a car can coexist, Cate. Or as they say on BB, ‘why not both?’

      1. hunkerdown

        The “simple math” is a matter of capitalist relations in the capitalist order, with which Caitlin and many other people rightly have a problem and do not see as valuable or worthy of respect. If you have the ability to save $70k in the present order, Caitlin probably isn’t talking to you.

        1. Lexx

          I suppose, Hunker, this would be a bad time to mention there’s another $35k sitting in the same account for an upstairs bathroom remodel since just before Covid.

          Husband seems inclined to put it off until he retires. At the earliest that will be another three years.

          Caitlin is talking to everyone who will listen or she wouldn’t blog and solicit donations to keep going, much like our beloved hosts. I doubt they expect the commentariat to agree with them on every point, if Yves early morning takedowns are any indication… woe unto them. Fortunately she and Lambert suffer a few fools here if they’re not too obnoxious. Who would tell them otherwise?

      2. Jason Boxman

        Wow — don’t let it go to waste — I recommend setting up a 4-week T-bill ladder at Treasury Direct. They’re yielding 3.5+% and it’s 100% safe. Every week for 4 weeks, buy 25% of 70K worth, and setup auto-reinvest. Then every week you’ll have 1/4th of your cash maturing and you can either reinvest or not as necessary.

        Or there are some fintech options, like SoFi Money is offering 3% on savings (with direct deposit setup) and they raise rates rapidly as the Fed raises.

        Good luck!

  3. Wukchumni

    Relics of famous people continually amuse me in what things fetch, in this case a $219k foot fetish. And more importantly what do you do with your pride and joy?

    Have them in a special glass display case on the wall or maybe in the foyer so as to wow friends when they walk through the door and exclaim to themselves while keeping it on the down low (Jesus Christ on a cracker-those weren’t Steve Job’s sandals when he was a relative nobody-are they!?) so as not to draw attention to just how lucky they are to have a friend who can share his good fortune and taste with them.

    A pair of well used 45 year old Birkenstocks might sport a $20 price in a thrift store of a well heeled community such as Silicon Valley, but more like $5-10 elsewhere, location-location-location!

    1. zagonostra

      Can you imagine how much Jesus’ sandals would fetch? NFT,FTX, DNC, WEF, ADL, CFR, FED, IRS, ADL, NIH, CDC, PMC, NPC…WTF. The world has become a fun house of acronyms where nothing makes sense.

      The U.S. was said to be waging war in Korea and Vietnam to fight communism because of the “domino theory,” Korea was stalemate, Vietnam wins, sort of. It switches to a war on poverty, and definitely loses without much of a fight, war on drugs after the fall of the Soviet Union was a fiasco that did nothing but create a carceral state, war on terrorism? 20 years in Afghanistan with not much to show except trillions for MIC, Turkey alleges that the US is complicit in Istanbul bombing and of course the Nord stream pipeline bombing, and Ukraine? What is that really about (rhetorical question).

      It was easier to understand the world when it was a struggle of Communism vs. Capitalism, when money was backed by gold, when sandals of successful business men were sandals and not relics. The world has lost it’s mind…forgive the rant.

      1. digi_owl

        “Can you imagine how much Jesus’ sandals would fetch?”

        I have the impression that wars have been fought over drops of his blood…

      2. Carolinian

        Hey that reliquary thing isn’t new. Catholics have filled their churches with them. In Brave New World they worship Henry Ford. Our braver new world has Jobs-ism.

        1. the last D

          Evangelical american churches are being filled with guns and assault rifles, the new holy relics of the mordant, dystopian american century. I have an old cassette tape of the late, conservative, evangelical d. james kennedy advocating the killing of commies for jesus’ sake. How much is that cassette tape worth today?

    2. digi_owl

      The continued worshiping of salesman Jobs, over so many engineers and scientists who’s work he relied on for his business, is endlessly frustrating.

      1. Geo

        It’s fascinating that so many bow down to salesmen. Jobs, Musk, Trump, Reagan… even Obama, while never officially a salesperson by title is best known for rhetoric over accomplishments. Mega church leaders, celebrity influencers, finance gurus… All people who project confidence and surety.

        “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.” – PT Barnum

        Personally, if someone claims to have the answers I just assume they’re either a charlatan or a lunatic.

        1. semper loquitur

          I think part of the answer is that they want to be those people. Humans, at least the less reflective ones, worship power. Sometimes even when it is harming them. They will say and do things to try and align themselves with it, even if it’s utterly pointless, even if it’s just empty declarations of allegiance in a Youtube channel’s comment section. It’s all rather grotesque.

    3. Realist

      Viz comic once ran a spoof advert for Birkenstocks featuring the *asterix subtext “*B.O. not included.”

    4. The Rev Kev

      That article says that they made-

      ‘A 360° digital representation of Steve Jobs’ personally owned and worn Birkenstock sandals, this exclusive NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is a 1 of 1 Edition and includes the physical sandals.’

      I wonder what would happen if the new owners decide to burn those sandals live on the internet not only for the publicity but to make sure that it increased the value of those five NFTs as no more could ever be made again. That’s capitalism for you. I’m sure that Jobs would have approved.

      1. anahuna

        I wonder how many of these “collectors” think that the practice of venerating the relics of saints is a foolish medieval superstition.

        I think of the phrase “having something rub off on you”. In one case, holiness, or at least a kind of protection. What is venerated now, if not Wealth, or more strictly, Riches?

        1. Wukchumni

          I had what was purported to be a piece of the true cross with a small amount of blood on it, and when I checked out the blood type, no way was it Jesus’s, as he was an O-, and it came back B+.

    5. griffen

      We have a future plot in a forthcoming Indiana Jones sequel circa 2045. The hunt for treasure takes Indiana Jones, IV, to the now less affordable remnants of Silicon Valley where a treasured pair of sandals worn by the icon of consumer tech himself was known to walk the sunny paths of Cupertino. A previous owner of the sandals had alas, fallen on hard times in the Jackpot era.

      Plot twist! Now we get an ageless Mark Zuckerberg trying to shoe horn Jones out of the way as the Zuckerberg is a known and prominent collector. Mark wants the sandals so as to add unto the collection of Bill Gates wire rimmed glasses. \sarc

    6. Mildred Montana

      Five centuries of art:

      Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” (1503)
      Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (1665)
      Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1889)
      Picasso’s “Guernica” (1937)
      Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” (1962)
      Jobs’ “My Well-Used Birkenstocks” (2022)

      Whither art?

      1. Louis Fyne

        (not to detract from the masters) in ye olden says, becoming technically proficient at art was very expensive; and the supplies-paints were ridicously expensive too.

        as costs have gone down and skills became common, artists gained fame not from technical skill but artistic shock value from the old guard Establishment—Monet, Duchamps, Picasso, Warhol, etc.

          1. Mildred Montana

            Louis Fyne and Wukchumni, I get what both of you are saying. My question is, Where does an NFT of Jobs’ sandals fit into the picture and what is it leading to?

          2. JEHR

            Actually, the camera obscura could have been used as early as the 4th Century BC. So there has almost always been a way to use the camera for the purpose of “creating” art.

        1. c_heale

          Monet had immense technical skill (look at his paintings of haystacks for example). Picasso too. Warhol and Duchamps both made important conceptual advances in art and (I don’t know about Duchamps) Warhol spent his whole life working really hard to make art.

          Shock value is not sufficient for art to endure. I think all of the mentioned artists (perhaps it could be argued that Duchamp is the exception here) were extremely popular while they were alive. Any shock value quickly wore off.

    7. B24S

      I have an empty black BIC lighter once owned and used by one J. Garcia. His girlfriend/baby-mama used to live across the street, and my neighbor baby-sat for them. He’d left it behind one evening, and she handed it to me one day when I pulled out a fat one.

      I’ve considered making a reliquary for it, but I’ve been told that it would be in poor taste, considering that his smoking heroin was somewhat responsible for his demise. I don’t think that would stop me, I just haven’t had a good idea for the design, nor the desire to expend the effort.

      However, the response from the public, regarding the recent announcement of a decorated pipe of his that has come to light, has perhaps relit my plans…

      1. in_still_water

        His three-pack a day habit of unfiltered camels and his dietary choices didn’t help either. You can never tell.
        Fairly entertaining summer of 1969 interview with Michael Lydon of Rolling stone

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    Yves Smith: Many thanks for your long comments on the Russian situation, regarding the threats coming from Jake “War Criminal” Sullivan, the saber-rattling that the U.S. is prone to, preparations for a land war that the U.S. will not fight and will not win:

    Plus: the stupidity of a the crowd-sourced war in which people think that assassinating Zelensky will prove anything. These are the same people who believe his t-shirt displays and who went ga-ga over the Vogue magazine cover by the Riefenstahl-esque Annie Liebovitz. This being the first social-media war, the results are indeed a strong case that the collapse of Twitter (and FTX) aren’t such bad things after all.

    I read this article a few weeks back here at Naked Capitalism. Someone had posted it in the comments, and it was pulled up into Water Cooler, if I recall.

    Diana Johnstone and the gangster state in action:

    I will point out that years and years of the mistreatment of black people in the U S of A leads to this mentality of gleeful, blank-eyed sadism. “Vigilantes burned down your town? You must have done something to deserve it. Whataya complaining about?”

    1. Carolinian

      The first Gilded Age was rife with corruption so it must be a trend. But back then there were socialist trends that seemed to offer rays of hope on the theory of historical inevitability. By contrast the doomsayers of the same era said “decline of the West” entropy was inevitable. Wonder who’s winning at the moment.

  5. The Rev Kev

    ‘This is what the mass grave of the Red Army soldiers looks like today, which was leveled in Kraslava region in Latvia!’

    This story in conjunction with the one of Germany segregating WW2 Ukrainian war dead suggests to me the employment of a new psyops tactic – grave desecration. Maybe only Latvia and Germany could actually bring themselves to do this however as other countries opted themselves out. But as we say in Oz, it was a pretty dog act. The outrage in Russia I imagine to be something and it would be like how Americans would react to news that Democrats and Republicans had voted together to move Arlington Cemetery out into West Virginia and the 640 acres of prime real estate developed into government office buildings and exclusive residential building with great views of the Potomac.

    1. digi_owl

      At the start of fighting in Ukraine, there were various WW2 monuments toppled in eastern Europe.

      Almost like they are trying to erase the cost of a world war from memory, just in time to push for a new one.

      Russia has faced down many a foe along its European border of the centuries, will they come out victorious this time as well?

    2. Bugs

      That was a really disturbing photo but like the warning above, I hesitate to believe it’s not fog of war. If it’s real, it’s disgusting. The Red Army saved Civilization.

  6. Samuel Conner

    The article on US Navy flag officers calls to mind this one about “how US Army generals are selected” (which I feel confident I first encountered at NC links a while ago):

    one gets the sense that “the iron law of institutions” is at work. I speculate that there is also misperception about “what is the institution that we are serving?”. “More money for the armed forces” doesn’t necessarily mean “better efficacy at serving the national interest.”

    Perhaps the Russian SMO, when it is in the rear-view mirror, will stimulate a top-to-bottom review of “how US does national defense.”

    1. digi_owl

      Gets me thinking that Eisenhower came up in relation to another post here on NC, and refreshing myself on his history shows his army days being deeply involved in logistics.

      I wonder how many US generals today even consider the topic.

    2. ex-PFC Chuck

      Thanks for the link. Forrest Pogue in his biography of George Marshall relates that the efficiency report form during the World War I era included the question “Would you want this officer to serve under you in combat? If not why?” Marshall’s CO at the time responded, “No. I’d rather serve under him.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Colonels of British Regiments during the height of the British Empire had similar forms to fill out but had more latitude in what they wrote. One Colonel, writing about one young officer and with his background in horses in mind, said-

        ‘I would not breed from this officer.’

        1. Tom Bradford

          Don’t forget, if you polish up the handle of the big front door so carefully you too can be the ruler of the Queen’s Navee.

    3. RobertC

      Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, U.S. Navy (Retired) explains some of the problems in the context of the USS Fitzgerald and Porter tragedies:

      It’s Not Just the Forward Deployed

      Aucoin: Navy Knew About 7th Fleet’s Problems

      WRT to Navy’s industrial base “Hoist the Flag and Sound the Trumpet”

      The third element [Industry]* – in nearly every one of our previous conflicts, we relied heavily on the capacity of our industrial base especially shipyards. How many do we have today? To give you the scope of what we face, one shipyard in China has more capacity than all of our shipyards combined.

      * The other three elements are Executive Branch, Congress, and Public Opinion.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That article said ‘According to a law adopted this summer, municipalities have until 15 November to demolish almost 70 objects that glorify the Soviet and Nazi regimes. The law does not apply to monuments at the burial sites of soldiers who died in the war.’

      But then it said ‘…it is not known whether Soviet soldiers are actually buried there.’

      Yeah, nah! That’s not going to cut it. I don’t believe that piece of hand-waving for a minute.

  7. digi_owl

    Are the Dems trying to pull a Pearl Harbor by pushing China to shoot first over resources? Only i am unsure if USA is able to pull the kind of war economy ramp up they did back then.

    “From Khrushchev’s U.S.S.R. to Putin’s Russia Atlantic. Resilc: “Soooooooooooooooooo, USA USA is basically still an unreconstructed plantation state.””

    North won the war, south won the peace?

    Oh, and lets not forget that Radio Free Europe is basically a CIA propaganda outlet.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Oh, agreed, but if the semi-official press organ of the CIA was making clear that “settlement” was off the agenda of a meeting with CIA top dog, it was off the agenda.

      Plus note use of “settlement”. It signals the West wants Russia to pay reparations.

      1. The Rev Kev

        There was just a vote on that at the United Nations-

        ‘The resolution was supported by 94 countries in the 193-member world body vote on Monday. Some 73 more states abstained, while 14 countries voted against. Among others, those voting against the resolution included Russia itself, as well as China, Iran, and Syria.

        “An international mechanism for reparation for damage, loss, or injury” arising from Russia’s “wrongful acts” in Ukraine needs to be established, the resolution says. The assembly’s members should create “an international register” that would include claims or data regarding damages, losses and injuries to Ukraine caused by Russia, the UN decided.’

        My own take on this is that this resolution was done so that later on, spending those seized Russian assets on the Ukraine can be legitimized as representing the popular view of UN nations or something.

        1. John

          I prefer “stolen” as opposed to “seized” and all ought remember that once you begin “seizing/stealing” the assets of those whom you dislike or pretend to dislike to ease your conscience and excuse your greed, you are open to like behavior.

          As long as the USA can bully compliance, this reprehensible behavior will continue. The DC Bubble and Echo Chamber believes it is #1. That day is fast waning, but it insists on taking me with it quite against my will. There is going to be a reckoning.

        2. Greg

          That UN vote makes me question the viability of the UN as a body. This resolution was approved by 94 members out of 193 – not even half. And adding those who abstained (because the US threats are enough to stop them voting against, presumably), and those who voted against, you still don’t get to 193.

          Maybe after the EU builds itself a security council equivalent so it doesnt have to listen to those annoying poor countries, the UN could go the other way and do something about power sharing.

  8. Samuel Conner

    Gorgeous antidote.

    I think that the blossom the bird is feeding at may be Tithonia. It’s easy to grow, easy to save seeds from for future propagation (it’s annual in cooler regions), and the h-birds love it. It can become quite a large plant, which is good for the birds because it is too big for any individual to monopolize, and it’s large enough that the birds can hide in its interior if threatened by predators.

    1. digi_owl

      Seeing that momma bear trying to juggle multiple kids shows how close to nature we humans are once we strip away all the toys.

      Also, that acorn stash is attributed to a bird in one of the responses to the tweet.

      1. griffen

        Seems like most Moms, life rules can be kept simple. Don’t play in traffic and look both ways before crossing the street.

        And as the youngest of a large family, keeping everyone in line ain’t easy !!

  9. KD

    It would appear that the US is concerned that Russia is going to launch a massive offensive and crush the Ukrainians, and the plan is to bring in a “coalition of the willing” to try and save the bacon. This already may be underway, as reports of Polish mercs serving as front line troops may be part of the strategy. Milley leaked because the Pentagon realizes this is a really stupid idea and want to be able to say “I told you so” when it breaks on the hard rocks of reality.

    A couple problems: the US has a big army, but its 7 to 1 support to combat troops, so maybe 200K combat troops available if you mobilize the guard and reserves to deal with US-missions worldwide. Second, its mostly light infantry, not set up to do major combined arms operations. Third, already low on ammo and materials due to giving everything to Ukraine. Fourth, even if the Defense pork bill discussed in another article passes, it will be years before this stuff comes on line. Seems like a political disaster in the making, and it would be hard to actually fight Russia conventionally without reinstating a draft–the Russians will probably chew through 50,000 US troops in a few months. Not to mention that Russia has the capacity to hit US domestic targets not just with nukes but also with conventional missiles. You can see why Milley is trying to get out ahead of it.

    If China escalates with Taiwan and trouble commences in the Middle East while the US is busy larping as Napoleon in Russia, the US will end up totally over-extended and over-committed.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      On top of that, the West cannot begin to mobilize in time. Takes 9 months. Colonel Macgregor went through the troops the US could round up in Europe between the US and friendlies and it’s only 90,000-100,000. Scott Ritter also pointed out non-trivial legal and procedural issues in extracting them from NATO and putting them under some other US command.

      Another complication is Hungary is refusing to give the US passage to Romania and Moldova.

      1. JohnA

        Plus Nato exercises in Europe in recent years have shown the transport infrastructure would be unable to cope with shipping heavy equipment across the continent and need substantial upgrading. That is not an overnight job either.

        1. The Rev Kev

          No worries. The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell is on it already-

          ‘Borrell pointed out that there was currently no specialized rail or road infrastructure to support the transfer of large amounts of military resources from one side of the bloc to the other and noted that adapting Europe’s mobility system was “critical” to the EU’s defenses.

          The diplomat specified that the bloc should improve “the capacity and ability to move troops and equipment quickly from one side of the EU to the other side of the EU, from the West to the East mainly. To our external border but also beyond our external borders when we deploy our military missions around the world.”

          As part of this Military Mobility action, Borrell proposed constructing bridges, tunnels, and trains which would be able to transport the EU’s military capacities, noting that the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has “clearly shown that this matters a lot.”

          For the EU’s top diplomat, all this year he has been talking like he is actually the EU’s top war minister.

            1. Cristobal

              As a resident (foreigner) of that fine country, with an unfortunate past that it is still trying to recover from, I have noted that the political cadre suffers from a severe case of Stockhol Syndrome, or as it is best under stood here, the Bienvenido Mr. Marshall Syndrome. That particular high muckety-muck is so full of himself and proud that a Spaniard can ¨be somebody¨ in Europe that there is probably no hope for him at his age.

      2. David

        All true but Ritter is a bit confused about NATO forces. It’s a truism that NATO has no standing forces to command, except the AWACs unit in which sixteen countries participate. Forces remain under national control in peacetime, but are assigned to NATO at various states of readiness and availability. There are some high-availability forces, like the NATO Response Force, but that is only 15,000 strong, distributed between land, sea and air components, and requires a consensus political decision to mobilise it.
        In practice, the situation would be the same as for the two Gulf Wars, and to an extent for Afghanistan during the ISAF years. There is some bureaucracy involved, but this isn’t a big problem.

      3. mrsyk

        Here I would add that the Kyiv weather chart above indicates mud season could be over by Thanksgiving removing that obstacle from Russia’s operational mobility.

        1. Greg

          Fortunate that mud season is ending, Russia will be all out of washing machines after that last barrage of missiles

        1. tegnost

          seattle times has a header of biden saying not fired from russia, updated at 6:12 pacific, can’t read it as I’ve reached my limit there but it’s notable in that most bs just gets thrown up (pun intended) in that rag…

    2. The Rev Kev

      If the US tries to create a Coalition of the Willing 2.0 and crosses the border into the Ukraine, I hope that they realize that any transport ships sailing between the US and Europe suddenly become legitimate targets of war. Will they go back to convoys again? So supplies would have to rely on basically whatever is in-theater in Europe.

      1. Polar Socialist

        One could say that US is already so over-extended that if it comes to blows, Russia would have almost complete escalation dominance. Every US base on the globe would need to go to a high alert state every time a Russian sub dives or a long range bomber takes off.

        Meanwhile, Lavrov having talked with Macron and Scholz about peace in in Ukraine and both having shrugged their shoulders (it’s Ukraine’s decision) combined with Naryshkin’s and Peskov’s comments makes one think that the final (politically required) effort for negotiations before the commencement of Russian winter offensive has been done.

        1. skippy

          Curious to ponder the ramifications of endless ME wars and how that translates to U.S. combat fodder deployment e.g. if quotas are not being filled now. How many would be willing to join or reenlist with the prospect of going up against Russia at its border, not to mention how that would effect the Russian populations will about fighting the U.S. NATO forces on its boarder.

          The whole “lets fight them over there and not here” might not work out as envisioned.

          Sadly I can see a perception not unlike experienced in the U.S. at the onset of the ME wars where many in the U.S. thought turning vast swaths of the ME into glass was a final solution to the endless trouble makers disturbing their personal lives ….

      2. Geo

        Most here are much more informed on the Ukraine situation than I am but most everything I read gives me “rope-a-dope” vibes.

        Maybe I’m still haunted by how OBL drew us into his web: “All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations.”

        Other have talked about how we’re depleting our weapons reserves and even moving some from Eastern Asia to Ukraine. Europe is crippling itself. All while much of the rest of the world realigns its strategic alliances, or merely retracts those alliances, away from the west.

        Might be my tinfoil hat is on too tight but America’s foreign policy leadership hasn’t proved to be very good at the long game in a few generations (or any game really) and it feels like we’re tricking ourselves into thinking we have them on the ropes when all we’re doing is tiring ourselves out for the real attack – whatever that may be.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Genocide aside, the US strength was from early industrial policies and a transcontinental operation. The US has “take this job and shove it” money, so you have to play by the US’s role in a whole hemisphere.

          There is a game called Hearts of Iron 4, about World War 2. The joke is “how do you win? Select the US. Congratulations you’ve won the game.” Our foreign policy elites played this game for a long time. The difference is the gerontology and the children of nepotism destroyed US advantages for the sake of killing unions. The US hasn’t had people who played the game since the 1830’s, maybe longer. The War of 1812 was stupid. Jefferson might be the last. Anyone subsequently was just part of the juggernaut.

          Now the US is trying to cover the world when we simply lack the real relative strength.

          1. Pat

            Killing unions was just a happy extra, it was all about the ROI. To get to the levels they wanted they destroyed killed industry in America (union and non union), destroyed brands, fouled air and water, poisoned crops, and exchanged junk for well made products, they eliminated education, addicted half the nation and produced expensive panaceas to mask the despair they left in their wake.
            They made money and produced nothing but problems. And because America had an extensive base and a level of resiliency, it took half a century for the cracks to become chasms. And with few exceptions the portion of the nation advancing and benefiting from doing this facing any consequences, they still don’t get that they are also doomed if they go too far.
            We are family blogged.

            1. hunkerdown

              The numbers obsession is a form of false consciousness that the neoliberal ruling class would very much like us to internalize. It doesn’t really motivate large actors, who act as if they are far more concerned about their relative positions to other classes than in their absolute value. There has to be something more important than their golden hoard in order for them to strategically pee away their objective, right?

              The problems they produced are a normal part of the state-subject relation. States don’t exist unless they are universally felt to exist. The incapacity, iconoclasm, natural poverty, adulteration, cultivated ignorance, dependency, and graft are deliberate processes designed to enhance the value of the state and order and devalue organic, autonomous relations.

              1. John

                Fading hegemons become desperate, flail about, hurl threats, fantasize about this awesome power, but in this age it comes down to nuclear weapons. Does the fading hegemon prefer annihilation to sharing? To choose the first choice is to be an infantile idiot. I do not assume that is impossible.

      3. Chas

        Something thing else Russia could do is take out the cables under the Atlantic connecting Europe with the USA. They could do it anytime now and just deny it like USA did with the Nordstream pipelines. It would be a disaster for international banking and would probably cause major economic problems for the empire worldwide.

    3. digi_owl

      It is like the people in charge still think the nation is a WW2 style industrial powerhouse.

      Yet one glance at the trading map up there should show everyone that China is the industrial powerhouse of the world now, while USA is at best a shock and awe (blitzkrieg?) flash in the pan.

  10. Wukchumni

    Maurice Sendak’s ageless imagination Artforum
    Where The Wild Things Are was perhaps the first book I ever tackled as a toddler not knowing how to read at that point, and the lush art which now reminds me a little bit of Maxfield Parrish, was both frightening and so evocative.

    This coming at a time in my life when scary monsters were often lurking in the closet of my bedroom @ night…

  11. Pat

    I wonder what secret power supply Zelensky and Resnikov have access to create their ‘Israel-Like’ Arms Industry To Produce NATO-Caliber Weapons. I m sure they have access to some warehouses and maybe even an only partially destroyed factory. But what good are they without electricity or gas. And that is before the necessary retooling and then getting supplies. I know drones are cheaper and smaller but they still need parts.

    I sometimes dream of finding a genie. Something that will solve issues in my life without my having to go through the pain and hard work (or going to prison for forcibly trying to redirect our elected officials from their current insane agendas). But the more I look at what Ukraine (and the US) keep throwing out there, the more I am sure I have better grasp of reality than they do.

  12. Ali

    Can anyone tell what the deal is with FTX, funds from Ukraine, and kickbacks to Democrats? Could be a bigger story.

    1. The Rev Kev

      From what I heard, Biden would give money to the Ukraine and they would invest a big chunk of it in FTX who would then send donations to the Democrats back in the US. During the midterms, they were the second biggest donor to the Democrats so that was a lot of money. The term money laundering comes to mind here.

      1. anon in so cal

        Bankman-Fried gave more than $39 million to candidates and committees in the 2022 midterm elections.

        Plus: Guarding Against Pandemics, a health nonprofit partially bankrolled by Bankman-Fried and run by his brother, has also lost some ties to Washington.

        “Guarding Against Pandemics, a 501(c)(4) that advocates for public investments to prevent the next Covid-19 pandemic, lost the Ridge Policy Group as one of its lobbyists, the firm told CNBC. The lobbying group is led by former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.

        “Ridge Policy Group no longer represents Guarding Against Pandemics,” Pamela Curtis Sherman, the firm’s chief administrative officer, told CNBC in an email. Sherman did not say when that decision was made or why the two severed ties.”

        (“Guarding Against Pandemics,”
        which “was created to support a specific proposal by the Biden administration to allocate $30 billion in federal funding for the containment of future pandemic outbreaks.”)

  13. Wukchumni

    FTX balance sheet, revealed FTAlphaville ZOMG!!! This isn’t a balance sheet, it’s a napkin doodle. Your pet store has more entries on its balance sheet.
    I am Sam. I am Sam. Sam I am.

    That Sam-I-am! That Sam-I-am! I do not like that Sam-I-am!

    Would you like to give green shoots to a sham?

    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
    I do not like green shoots and sham.

    Would you like prosecution here or there?

    I would not like prosecution here or there.
    I would not like it anywhere.
    I do not like green shoots and sham.
    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

    Would you like withdrawals to be in house?
    Would you like them hacked with a mouse?

    I do not like withdrawals to be in house.
    I do not like them being hacked with a mouse.
    I would not like prosecution here or there.
    I would not like it anywhere.
    I do not like green shoots and sham.
    I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘To state the obvious, it means China has little trust left in the US’s words.

    Which is very understandable given recent history but also very worrying because if words can’t be trusted then you tend to assume the worst.’

    Pity we couldn’t organize a betting pool here. Biden said that he is not interested in a new cold war but how long after he leaves the G-20 will there be a new arms package for Taiwan being sent or a US warship sailing through the Taiwan Strait? I give it about three days.

  15. pjay

    Re: ‘Book review of G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage’ – Washington Post (Anthony L)

    History continues to be re-written. See, Hoover had a “soft” side. He was sympathetic to persecuted closeted gays. Yeah, he did some bad stuff like COINTELPRO, but he was just following orders, just a good bureaucratic soldier. We need “nuance” to understand his complex life. Oh, and while wiretapping King was perhaps a bad thing, King was participating in debauched sex orgies, so… And Bobby Kennedy said it was ok anyway.

    The author of the book is a Yale historian, the author of the review (in the Washington Post, yet) is Kai Bird, so this will be taken as Gospel Truth. Bird says it changed his mind about Hoover, and the headline suggests it might change ours. Who will be the new Efrem Zimbalist Jr. when the Netflix series is produced?

    Sometimes I wonder if they are just toying with liberal intellectuals to see just how far they can push it. Whenever I think we couldn’t be moving to ‘1984’ any faster…

  16. Wukchumni

    Rep. Andy Biggs to challenge McCarthy for Speaker The Hill
    There’s an opportunity for the GOP to repudiate Trumpism and deny My Kevin (since ’07) his gotten gains via gavel even though being the Speaker of the House in a building divided against itself nearly evenly might be the booby prize-a set of luggage with unbearable weight in the contents.

    1. Wukchumni


      Kev won the lottery which propelled him into politics, and so did Biggs, but Biggs bonanza was bigger.

      In 1993, he won $10 million in the American Family Publishers sweepstakes. He appeared in a TV ad with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon to promote the sweepstakes.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Top Zelensky advisor threatens war with Iran”

    That is gunna be a neat trick that. The distance between the Ukraine and Iran is about 3,000 kilometers or more. So about two thousand miles. They hardly have a Navy anymore or even an Air Force so how does he propose to do this? Maybe a mass mail-out of letter bombs to Iran? It fits in with their ideology.

    1. Cristobal

      These people live in a parallel universe. Sometimes I have to beat my head against the wall to convince myself that I live in the real one.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “‘If I rest, how will I earn?’: How an Indian street hawker manages his monthly costs.’

    You just know that right now some World Economic Forum dweeb is reading this article and thinking that all the workers in the world should have the exact same life style and thinking about how to make it happen.

  19. IMOR

    “To help bring the project to Kentucky, Beshear’s office previously said the state’s Economic Development Finance Authority approved a 10-year incentive deal with Quadrant with up to $3.4 million in tax breaks possible if certain conditions were met, including creating at least 200 full-time jobs in the Bluegrass State with an average wage of at least $28.15.”
    200 full time at $56,600/year or more? Was this realistic to begin with? If not, Andy’s looking at the Fed charges and supporting to see how far up the chain of grift and payoffs the Feds are likely to get. If real, another sign of the accelerating Dem war on real workers and communities blowsy beltway bezzlers wouln’t care to live in. Goodbye to the actual, current Quadrant machining and assembly jobs up the road!

  20. mrsyk

    In regards to the article on Biden’s student-debt forgiveness being blocked I found this quote from Judge Pittman interesting. “Whether the Program constitutes good public policy is not the role of this Court to determine. Still, no one can plausibly deny that it is either one of the largest delegations of legislative power to the executive branch, or one of the largest exercises of legislative power without congressional authority in the history of the United States.” Really? First, by what metric does the good judge base that observation? I’m guessing money. Secondly, wouldn’t our rich history of State bypassing congressional authority for warmongering be greater, in fact so much greater that it would make this argument pointless? And yet all the Champions of the People can come up with to counter this hypocritical nonsense is…. technicalities (standing). Wow.

  21. Carolinian

    Interesting Patrick Cockburn/Counterpunch rebuttal to those of us making the “Trump is finished” argument. I have to admit that after only a few days of Dem triumphalism (over their equally feeble performance) I’m longing for some iconoclastic red meat from Orange Man. And sounds like DT has decided to turn his blame cannons on McConnell instead of DeSantis and that’s smart given how sleazy McConnell is. Could Trump–facing brand destruction–turn into the populist he formerly only pretended to be? Single payer needs a champion not to mention peace.

    It’s a very slender reed but still….

  22. Steve

    I’ve heard from the horses mouth, Australian trade negotiators, that even they were amazed at how much the U.K. was willing to put on the table in negotiating their FTA. For them it was like the greatest FTA ever.

  23. Wukchumni

    I’d never heard of a Moon Tree until I saw it mentioned in an article today about a similar mission on the Artemis rocket scheduled to circle the Moon, carrying Giant Sequoia seeds among the 5 species represented.

    Moon trees are trees grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit around the Moon by Stuart Roosa, the Command Module Pilot on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971.

    After the flight, the seeds were sent to the southern Forest Service station in Gulfport, Mississippi, and to the western station in Placerville, California, with the intent to germinate them. Nearly all the seeds germinated successfully, and after a few years, the Forest Service had about 420 seedlings. Some of these were planted alongside their Earth-bound counterparts, which were specifically set aside as controls. After more than 40 years, there was no discernible difference between the two classes of trees. Most of the “Moon trees” were given away in 1975 and 1976 to state forestry organizations, in order to be planted as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration.,the%20United%20States%20Forest%20Service.

  24. flora

    Wolf Street. Good write-up on SS.

    Status of the Social Security Trust Fund, Income and Outgo: Fiscal 2022

    It looks fine, could be better but it’s OK. Lifting the cap would strengthen it. When you hear politicians shrieking “the end of SS is nigh” remember it’s a very big pot of money and they’d love to get their hands on it – to ‘help you’, of course. / ;)

    (Imo, Medicare would be stronger if the govt wasn’t subsidizing the privatized so-called Medicare Advantage plans by draining the MC trust reserves for the subsidies.)

  25. ChrisFromGA

    Na, na-nah-na-nah, na-nah-na-nah
    Na-nah-nah, na-nah-nah, na-nah-na-nah

    Here come the tech layoffs (Zuckerberg!)
    From the digital gangstahs (Zuckerberg!)
    Starbucks hirin’ in de-area (Zuckerberg!)
    Still love you like that!

    That metaverse scam was sly
    But earnings de-multiplied
    Anyone deaf can hear the fat lady sing
    Act like you know, Bezos
    I know what Elon don’t know
    Fire ’em all and go private, so:

    Here come the tech layoffs (Zuckerberg!)
    From the digital gangstahs (Zuckerberg!)
    Starbucks hirin’ in de-area (Zuckerberg!)
    Still love you like that!

  26. Lex

    Oddly, the Khrushchev article fails to mention how much of the current situation in Ukraine is directly attributable to her grandfather acting on a whim to redraw maps, which is of course a fairly despotic action. As an aside, in my experience Russians who actually lived through the 90’s in Russia vs Russians who lived through the 90’s in the west have very different perspectives about modern Russia and especially Putin. Usually the tell is that the latter never fail to mention the “democracy” of the Yeltsin years.

    1. flora

      No ever mentions how the US, UK, and RU carved up the old Ottoman empire into spheres of influence after WWI either. But, but, that was sooo long ago. The effects are still with us, though.

      1. digi_owl

        That was more France and UK, best i recall.

        In particular UK making a solid mess of the middle east by sending in administrators with a rose tinted view of landed aristocracy. That they tried to recreate there by empowering the largely ceremonial sheiks over the heads of the urbanized bureaucracies that the Ottomans had been fostering.

  27. mrsyk

    When I was in second grade, my dad took me to meet Maurice Sendak. I remember him as being very nice and very tall (everything seemed so “very” when I was six years old.). He signed my brand new copy of Hector Protector added three crows to the first page. It was one of the most prized possessions of my childhood.

  28. TimH

    Am I the only one who saw the lede “Honey bee life spans are 50% shorter today than they were 50 years ago” and thought that something like “Honey bees only live half as long today than they did 50 years ago” would be just a bit more enticing.

    Haven’t had my coffee yet.

  29. Wukchumni

    $4.01k update:

    Sure, the haterz are out in force after the farcical side of FTX was revealed and how it was mutual fun buying up one another’s DIY$ until somebody gets hurt by a lack of hertz, that is.

    Miraculously Bitcoin has managed to stay within a fairly narrow range during the mirage money maelstrom, now fetching $17k.

    1. Cristobal

      My favorite childhood book was illustrated by Maurice Sendak (written by Ruth Krauss): A Hole is to Dig. Not scary at all but very logical!

  30. ACPAL

    “Oddly RFE pulled the story (I swear I found it on Wayback Machine but the germane screenshot went poof there too!) but plenty of footprints of the operative quote elsewhere”

    Many years ago, when I was scouring the news daily, I often came across articles that gave me a peek “behind the curtain” as they say, and what I saw of our government was frightening and ugly. At that time those articles would stay up for a day or so before being censored. Over the years the censors have gotten it down to minutes before “the cleaners” hide the evidence.

    “A Russian and an American get on a plane in Moscow and get to talking. The Russian says he works for the Kremlin and he’s on his way to go learn American propaganda techniques.
    “What American propaganda techniques?” asks the American.
    “Exactly,” the Russian replies.” original author unknown

    1. hunkerdown

      Spend it on small goods from China that bolster your autonomy. The de minimis import exemption is in the empire’s crosshairs.

  31. Jeff W

    “If bumblebees can play, does it mean they have feelings? This study suggests yes” NPR

    Who says they don’t?

    “They may actually experience some kind of positive emotional states, even if rudimentary…”

    Actually! And I’m not sure how we can assess emotional states, positive or otherwise, in terms of rudimentariness. (Some birds and butterflies have five or more kinds of color receptors in their retinas and are therefore believed to be pentachromats so I guess humans, the vast majority of us benighted trichromats, experience some kind of color vision, even if rudimentary.)

    I’m as surprised as anyone that bumblebees preferentially detour to interact with wooden balls but I wouldn’t have assumed, even absent that, that, when they come across, say, a particularly “nectar-rich” environment, that they’re entirely devoid of “some kind” of positive emotional state.

  32. Greg

    Further to yesterdays Ukraine Grid post, here’s news from today:

    “Parts of Moldova are experiencing power outages as a result of Russia’s missiles hitting Ukrainian cities & vital infrastructure.”

    Not sure how connected Moldovas grid is, but clearly at least partly, and the load balance issues are propagating. This would be why Poland cut their connection to Ukraine’s grid as soon as attacks on transformers ramped up. Moldova still being connected explains how Zelenskyy was planning on begging electricity from Europe as well, since the EU is mostly one big super-connected (super-fragile) grid.

    1. Cristobal

      Lets hear it for t he Iberian Exception! (Spain and Portugal are a bit seperate from the rest. They get a better deal on pricing as a result)

    2. Greg

      I’ve read more recent reports that say Moldova was down due to a line being damaged, which implies it was being supplied power by Ukraine prior to that. Either way, that suggests not a propagating frequency/load problem, but just simple breaking stuff.
      Guess we’ll find out more in the next few days, looks like last nights strikes have pushed the Ukrainian grid much closer to breaking point.

  33. All Ice

    “Warfare relies on deception. Armies should seem strong when they are weak and unprepared when they are ready to fight. If evenly matched, opponents must remain prepared; when overmatched, they must avoid conflict. An irritable opponent should be goaded; attacks should be launched when and where they are least expected. The general who plans carefully will overpower the one who makes hasty calculations.”

    Applying this to the Ukr war:
    1. Deception, the only deception here on the Ukr is waiving a fig leaf to try to get Ru to trust the US and to freeze the war; Ru on the other hand has a strategy that is an enigma.
    2. Appear weak when you are strong and strong when you are weak. Ru is making itself look weak by withdrawing and US/Ukr is trying to make itself look strong occupying the withdrawn territory and celebrating the occupation as a combat victory.
    3. Attack when & where least expected. Ru’s future attack should be awaited, no guesses are reliable.
    4. The General who plans carefully is on the RU side. On the Ukr side planing appears to be by a committee of politicians.
    The Art of War
    Sun Tzu Summary Ch 1-3

  34. griffen

    FTX and the balance sheet to nowhere. While I am shocked, shocked I say at the level of duplicity and lack of competence, how dang hard is it to hire a meager salaried spreadsheet wizard to generate a reasonable presentation? Not That Hard To Do.

    Now presenting a cornfield-like maze of incompleteness and obscurity, well that says more about what Bankman-Fried was finally up to. And here we are an old scam perpetrated via a new asset class that is the Can’t Miss thing of the here and now. Harrumph.

  35. truly

    I am a bit late to comments and have not had time to read everything. Apologies if I am redundant. But something I want to share.
    How General Winter will impact operations in the Ukraine theater is currently unknown. EVERY winter is different in how the ground sets up. Based on whether you have lots of freezing temps before heavy snow or if heavy snow happens first changes EVERYTHING. Snow is a great insulator. If you get one foot of snow before any amount of cold (single digits F) then the ground may remain mud all winter. If you get 5-10 days of single digits (F) before snow then the top 6-12 inches of soil maybe be hard as a rock and suitable for any vehicle to drive over.
    Whether you are a farmer who wants to haul manure to the field in winter, a logger who wants to skid logs out of low wet ground, or a military strategist, you just have to wait and see how things set up. Some winters you can drive a Prius across stubble fields, some winters 4 x 4 trucks cant make it 50 feet off the road. General Winter holds ALL the cards. Surely advisors to military operations will be wise to take a wait and see approach.

    1. skippy

      Since the beginning of this I have been amazed at the focus on maps and troop deployment [body count] considering the SMO doctrine and all things judged by it – when from day one – Russia has had the capacity to take out critical infrastructure and send the Ukraine back to the proverbial dark ages where the Ukraine can not.

      There goes your Mfg and with it your GDP … topping that all off is the bleeding GDP wound the E.U. has … and how will Mr Market treat that in a few quarters with everything investor driven and no reverse gear …

    2. ThirtyOne

      US administration:

      “The White House is working with the Polish government to collect more information about the downed missiles in Poland.”

      The methodology is being formed.

    3. Polar Socialist

      I did comment this in the Congressional Amendment thread.

      Considering that large parts of Ukraine went dark, including internet and mobile networks, there might have been more than 17 that got trough. Russian sources mentioned 4 waves of missiles from bombers and Black Sea Fleet followed by Geran-3s.

      Poland claimed Russian missiles hit Polish territory, killing two and destroying a tractor. In the images the remains look a lot like S-300 missiles from Ukrainian air defenses. Russia denies having targeted anything near the Polish border.

      1. wilroncanada

        Yves and Polar Socialist. I’m always late to the game here on the west coast, but I’m already hearing news of an opening now to send in Nato?US troops in strength, now that the dastardly Putin has personally sent missiles into Poland and killed non-Ukrainians. Is this perhaps the black op they (Ukraine/EU?NATO) have been trying to arrange in order to go on the offensive, perhaps with US?NATO aircraft bombing into Russia via the Baltic States or Finland, or perhaps a sea attack on Crimea?
        Or, is it so clumsy an Ukrainian ploy that not even Biden or Von der Leyen would believe it?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            The missile was from an S300, a Soviet air defense system that Ukraine still uses. Also oddly very far away from anywhere Russia was striking.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Been thinking about your last sentence. Since Poland is now bordering a country involved in a full scale war, you would reckon that they are watching that border like a hawk. This being the case, there would have to be radar tracking data by their defence systems and perhaps satellite images too. At the very least there would be civilian air traffic control that would indicate which direction that that S300 missile was flying. And it is suspicious that this happened during the G20 meeting. But to be honest, the MH17 data never surfaced but remains classified and nobody wanted to know who bombed the Baltic Sea pipelines so it could all get muddled in mutual accusations.

    4. eg

      But wait — isn’t Russia running out of ordinance? Isn’t “Kherson!” most glorious Ukrainian victory emblematic of imminent Russian collapse?

      Sadly, this is the kind of crap I have to put up with from my Toronto friends, in thrall as they are to The Mighty Wurlitzer …

      1. Polar Socialist

        Just tell them it’s the Ukrainians shooting themselves, just like the Russians were doing earlier. Slavs just are like that, you know.

  36. Karl

    RE: Nov. 14 Biden-Xi meeting from respective government “readouts”

    Still talking past each other on Taiwan. China says:

    [Xi] stressed that the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed [my emphasis] in China-U.S. relations. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese and China’s internal affair. It is the common aspiration of the Chinese people and nation to realize national reunification and safeguard territorial integrity.

    The U.S. [White House] says:

    On Taiwan, [Biden] laid out in detail that our one China policy has not changed, the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side….

    Part of that status quo entails arms sales to Taiwan. The Washington Post published 5 p.m. EST on Nov. 13 the interesting story that some in Congress are pushing to include, in the 2013 National Defense Authorization (now being hammered out) a massive increase in those sales to between $1-2B/yr for five years.

    The timing of this story was obviously to send a message to China before the talks. Is this a deliberate U.S. threat to follow-up on Sullivan’s promise of “consequences” if China supports Russia on Ukraine?

    I think it’s significant that China, in its readout, documented Biden’s understanding of the Taiwan issue, but the U.S. readout (consistent with its policy of “strategic ambiguity”) contained no such affirmation. Here’s what China said (and what the U.S. did not say):

    The United States does not seek a new Cold War, does not seek to revitalize alliances against China, does not support “Taiwan independence”, does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, and has no intention to have a conflict with China. The U.S. side has no intention to seek “de-coupling” from China, to halt China’s economic development, or to contain China.

    Will China declaring Taiwan as a “Red Line” be heard? The Washington Post article said it’s all up to the Appropriations Committee and Biden. Funds for this aid will need to be offset with cuts elsewhere. Pelosi is a big supporter of Taiwan, but Biden may not need to placate her any more knowing she won’t be Speaker much longer.

    I think the U.S. readout (IMHO) was pretty confrontational, emphasizing differences, whereas China’s seemed to emphasize areas of agreement.

  37. kareninca

    I saw it remarked by a person on twitter (Mild Yet Mysterious), that most of the articles about covid in the press are now coming out of Canada. I had noticed that. It is strange.

  38. Tom Stone

    The Ukraine’s Great Victory at Kherson reminds me of a well known limerick about ” A young lady named Post who once made love to a ghost”.
    The rest of the year promises to be interesting…

  39. Karl

    RE: Russia blew some transformers at the [Karkhovka] hydroelectric station

    As with this hydro plant, Russia has targeted transmission equipment (e.g. substations) rather than generators. If Ukraine doesn’t have spare transformers and other long-lead-time items to replace those that Russia has destroyed, it’s grid will be inoperable for a long time.

    Transformers of the requisite size for this 360 MW plant are typically very long lead time items (sometimes years). U.S. based firms used to make them but now only a few firms in the world do so in this concentrated industry, mostly in Germany, Japan and China. Due to their complexity, transformers are typically ordered well in advance of the end of their useful life, and the queues can be long. A large utility will typically have spares available for contingencies, but sometimes the right spare isn’t always available. In the U.S., transformer failure is such a big deal to system operation and reliability that utilities have cooperative agreements to provide their spares when another utility’s transformer has “blown” if a spare isn’t available in-house. My guess is that most spares that meet Russian specs (different from European) are located in Russia. Bummer.

    Ukraine recently issued a call to Western utilities for various items of electrical equipment to replaced those items damaged in Russia’s attacks. Interestingly, Ukraine was supposed to de-energize from UPS (the Russian grid) and couple with the Synchronous Grid of Continental Europe in February 2022. Was the invasion of Ukraine in that same month a coincidence? How successful was that national grid switchover in the middle of a war? Is it now able (due to apparent adoption of European interconnect standards) to get imported power from Poland, Hungary and elsewhere in Europe, and even if it could, do these countries have any spare generating capacity?

    The shut-off of gas to Europe may mean that the answer is “no”. Bummer

    1. Polar Socialist

      Ukraine did decouple from Russian grid in February, but it was supposed to be just a test. European grid operators demanded it before allowing Ukraine to join the European grid, because they did not trust in the stability of the Ukrainian grid.

      The invasion began during the test, so Ukraine never coupled back to Russian grid and it was very, very hastily but successfully synchronized with the European grid.

  40. flora

    Taibbi’s latest article is great, mostly behind a paywall unfortunately. Basic theme is the levers of US state taking aim at Musk for buying twitter, declaring him some sort of threat to something or other because he doesn’t conform to their demands.

    The Burning of Witches Will Continue

    Americans who once venerated self-reliance are building a church of conformity, whose chief means of worship is destroying heretics. Elon Musk should tell the priesthood to shove it.

    From the longer article:

    If the U.S. government is seriously going to dig up the corpse of McCarthy to go after Musk on national security grounds because he just voted Republican and once made Jake Sullivan sad at an Aspen Institute conference (this was part of the Times story), Musk should welcome that confrontation. No matter how much faux blue-check outrage gets drummed up, the average person will see this for what it is, an illegitimate effort to seize a private business from one extremely powerful person for the crime of disagreeing with an even more powerful people in government. The math isn’t hard: if the DHS or the NSC can do this to the world’s richest man, they can do it to anyone, making this story into a test case to see what the new censorship regime can get away with.

    Article also includes this utube short segment of Arthur Miller talking about his play ‘The Crucible.’

    1. skippy

      Its all Kabuki to me flora … Elon just used Space X government funds to invest in Twitter … lmmao~~~~

      But then there are poignant moments on can savor …

      Mike Solana
      after ten years of relentless work adding an additional 140 characters to tweets, i was fired last night from twitter after calling my literal boss a “cock smoking lunatic nazi.” shocked and saddened it has come to this

      My personal fav comment was – Shame… what happened to free speech???

  41. flora

    Aaron Mate` is on the J Dore show giving a good rundown about the US Military (Pentagon) which apparently is starting to push back against the neocon policy in Ukr. Gen. Milley has come out calling for diplomacy. Most of this segment is Mate` talking. utube, ~20 minutes.

    LEAKED: Pentagon Wants Ukraine Peace Deal NOW!

    1. tegnost

      I guess this counts as a rant, but…
      pretty good but starting out with russia “losing” in kherson is a credibility killer even if it’s largely accurate after that…
      It’s the same sort of feeling I got from Chappelle, he had to throw out some ukraine thing that gets whoops of approval from (plants probably) in the audience. Mostly funny, but…tip toeing on egg shells isn’t funny, and the approved good people can’t be opposed, too thin skinned. I’ve never witnessed more thin skinned stupidity in all my born days. Add the increasing covid debacle, seriously, there’s a point where everyone knows vaxxed people, or are vaxxed people , with covid.
      It’s… I’m speechless. The stupidity is unbearable. If I step on a nail, and I get a tetanus shot, I’m not getting tetanus. The Cambodian guy who probably got covid from biden? He should be blisteringly mad.
      My only consolation is that the dems own it, no bailout via red wave.

    2. skippy

      My ex-military antics tell me that if such above is the case that Russia won’t bargain until they get want they want out of the new operation first. Some wanted a show of force when this first started and played the fact Russia was being strategic as weakness and ran with it like PR/marketing wild pigs in the media.

      So all things considered going back decades to exclude Russia from any normalized trade with the West and now the endless propaganda about, same as Iraq et al IMO, that all Western dramas are due to external BAD GUYS would seem an excellent opportunity to put on a show of actual force and then ask Vdus [what did you say]. I mean what do they have to lose in the long run and contra to western media investment decisions are not supporting the propoganda ….

    3. Yves Smith Post author

      Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who knows Milley, thinks this is just Milley positioning himself. Oh, I see Rev Kev just posted that link below.

        1. skippy

          So where right back at the aristocracy watching a battlefield whilst having a picnic … good to know ..

  42. skippy

    Ugh at the idea a battlefield could be depicted by blogs, twitter, and YT for eyeball profit … whack world chum …

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